Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 5, 1646-1648. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Die Veneris, 4 Februarii, 1647.
Confession of Faith.
The House proceeded in the further Consideration of the Advice of the Assembly of Divines, concerning a Confession of Faith; and considered of the Fourth Paragraph of the Twentieth Chapter, intituled, "Of Christian Liberty, and Liberty of Conscience."
Resolved, &c. That the Fourth Paragraph of the Twentieth Chapter, intituled, "Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience," be taken into Consideration, when the House comes to consider of the Thirtieth Chapter, concerning Church Censures.
The House proceeded in the further Consideration of the Advice of the Assembly of Divines, concerning a Consession of Faith; and considered of the First Paragraph of the One-and-twentieth Chapter, intituled, "Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day."
"The Light of Nature theweth, That there is a God, who hath Lordship and Sovereignty over All; is good, and doth Good, unto All; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the Heart, and with all the Soul, and with all the Might. But the acceptable Way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by his own revealed Will, that He may not be worshipped according to the Imaginations and Devices of Men, or the Suggestions of Satan, under any visible Representation, or any other Way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture."
"Religious Worship is to be given to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and to Him alone; not to Angels, Saints, or any other Creature; and, since the Fall, not without a Mediator; nor in the Mediation of any other but of Christ alone."
"Prayer, with Thanksgiving, being one special Part of Religious Worship, is, by God, required of all Men; and that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the Name of the Son, by the Help of his Spirit, according to his Will, with Understanding, Reverence, Humility, Fervency, Faith, Love, and Perseverence; and is vocal in a known Tongue."
"Prayer is to be made for Things lawful, and for all Sorts of Men living, or that shall live hereafter; but not for the Dead; nor for those of whom it may be known, that they have sinned the Sin unto Death."
"The Reading of the Scriptures with godly Fear; the sound Preaching, and conscionable Hearing of the Word, in Obedience unto God, with Understanding, Faith, and Reverence; Singing of Psalms, with Grace in the Heart, as also the due Administration and worthy Receiving of the Sacraments instituted by Christ; are all Parts of the ordinary Religious Worship of God; besides religious Oaths, Vows, solemn Fastings and Thanksgivings, upon special Occasions; which are, in their several Times and Seasons, to be used in an holy and religious Manner."
"Neither Prayer, nor any other Part of Religious Worship, is now, under the Gospel, either tied unto, or made more acceptable by, any Place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed: But God is to be worshipped every where, in Spirit and Truth; as in private Families, daily, and in secret each one by himself, so more solemaly in the public Assemblies: Which are not carelesly or wilfully to be neglected, or forsaken, when God, by his Word or Providence, calleth thereunto;"
"As it is the Law of Nature, that, in general, a due Proportion of Time be set apart for the Worship of God; so in his Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual Commandment, binding all Men, in all Ages, he hath particularly appointed One Day in Seven for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him; which, from the Beginning of the World, to the Resurrection of Christ, was the Last Day of the Week; and, from the Resurrection of Christ, was changed into the First Day of the Week; which in Scripture, is called the Lord's Day; and is to be continued to the End of the World, as the Christian Sabbath."
"This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when Men, after a due preparing of their Hearts, and Ordering of their common Affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy Rest all the Day, from their own Works, Words, and Thoughts, about their worldly Employment and Recreations; but also are taken up, the whole Time, in the publick and private Exercises of His Worship; and in the Duties of Necessity and Mercy."
The House proceeded in the further Consideration of the Advice of the Assembly of Divines, concerning a Consession of Faith; and considered of the First Paragraph of the Two-and-twentieth Chapter, intituled, "Of lawful Oaths and Vows."
"A lawful Oath is a Part of Religious Worship; wherein, upon just Occasion, the Person swearing solemnly calleth God to witness what he asserteth or promiseth; and to judge him according to the Truth or Falshood of what he sweareth.
Confession of Faith.
"The Name of God only is that by which Men ought to swear; and therein it is to be used with all holy Fear and Reverence: Therefore, to swear vainly or rashly, by that glorious and dreadful Name, or to swear at all by any other Thing is sinful, and to be abhorred. Yet, as in Matters of Weight and Moment, an Oath is warranted by the Word of God, under the New Testament as well as under the Old; so a lawful Oath, being imposed by lawful Authority, in such Matters, ought to be taken."
"Whosoever taketh an Oath, ought duly to consider the Weightiness of so solemn an Act; and therein to avouch nothing but what he is fully persuaded is the Truth: Neither may any Man bind himself by Oath to any thing but what is good and just, and what he believeth so to be, and what he is able and resolved to perform: Yet it is a Sin to refuse an Oath touching any thing that is good and just, being imposed by lawful Authority."
"An Oath is to be taken in the plain and common Sense of the Words, without Equivocation, or mental Reservation: It cannot oblige to Sin; but in any thing, not sinful, being taken, it binds to Performance, although to a Man's own Hurt; nor is it to be violated, although made to Hereticks or Insidels."
"It is not to be made to any Creature, but to God alone; and, that it may be accepted, it is to be made voluntarily, out of Faith, and Conscience of Duty, in Way of Thankfulness for Mercy received, or for the obtaining of what we want; whereby we more strictly bind ourselves to necessary Duties, or to other Things, so far, and so long, as they may fitly conduce thereunto."
"No Man may vow to do any thing forbidden in the Word of God, or what would hinder any Duty therein commanded, or which is not in his own Power; and, for the Performance whereof, he hath no Promise of Ability from God: In which respects, Popish monastical Vows of perpetual single Life, professed Poverty, and regular Obedience, are so far from being Degrees of higher Perfection, that they are superstitious and sinful Snares, in which no Christian may entangle himself."
The House proceeded in the further Consideration of the Advice of the Assembly of Divines, concerning a Confession of Faith; and considered of the First Paragraph of the Three-and-twentieth Chapter, intituled, "Of the Civil Magistrate."
"God, the Supreme Lord and King of all the World, hath ordained Civil Magistrates, to be, under Him, over the People, for his own Glory, and the publick Good; and to the End, hath armed them with the Power of the Sword, for the Defence and Encouragement of them that are good, and for the Punishment of Evil-doers."
"It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the Office of a Magistrate, when called thereunto: In the Managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain Piety, Justice, and Peace, according to the wholesome Laws of each Commonwealth; so, for that End, they may lawfully, now, under the New Testament, wage War, upon just and necessary Occasion."
"The Civil Magistrate may not assume to himself the Administration of the Word and Sacraments, or of the Power of the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven: Yet he hath Authority, and it is his Duty, to take Order, That Unity and Peace be preserved in the Church: That the Truth of God be kept pure and entire: That all Blasphemies and Heresies be suppressed; all Corruptions and Abuses in Worship and Discipline prevented or reformed; and all the Ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed: For the better effecting whereof he hath Power to call Synods; to be present at them; and to provide, that whatsoever is transacted in them, be according to the Mind of God.
Resolved, &c. That the last Part of the Fourth Paragraph of the Three-and-twentieth Chapter, beginning with these Words, "much less," be taken into Consideration when the House comes to consider of the Thirtieth Chapter, concerning Church Censures.
"It is the Duty of the People to pray for Magistrates, to honour their Persons, to pay them their Dues to obey their lawful Commands, and to be subject to their Authority for Conscience-sake. Infidelity, or Difference in Religion, doth not make void the Magistrates just and legal Authority, nor free the People from their just Obedience to them; from which Ecclesiastical Persons are not exempted."
The House proceeded in the further Consideration of the Advice of the Assembly of Divines, concerning a Confession of Faith; and considered of the First Paragraph of the Four-and-twentieth Chapter, intituled, "Of Marriage and Divorce."